The 2017 LSU Tigers are ranked No. 11 in the Athlon Sports College Football Preseason Top 25 Poll.
The rankings take into account where the teams will finish after the national championship in January.
The Tigers continue to face the same offseason questions that have dogged the team over the last several years.
Ed Orgeron’s first full season at the helm in Baton Rouge begins with a familiar question: What will LSU get out of its offense? It’s no secret the Tigers have one of the nation’s top running backs in Derrius Guice and a strong foundation to build around on the offensive line. New coordinator Matt Canada was one of the SEC’s top assistant hires for 2017, but this offense needs more from its passing attack. Danny Etling had offseason back surgery but will return in time for fall practice and is expected to hold onto the starting job. Etling’s performance is critical to LSU’s hopes of pushing Alabama in the SEC West. In addition to the concerns about quarterback production, there’s also uncertainty at receiver, as just one player (D.J. Chark) returns with more than 10 catches. LSU’s defense returns only four starters, but under coordinator Dave Aranda, this unit will be one of the best in the nation next fall. End/linebacker Arden Key could lead the SEC in sacks in 2017. Cornerback Donte Jackson should push for All-SEC honors, and true freshman JaCoby Stevens could see significant playing time at safety. Linebacker is Aranda’s biggest concern. Talent certainly isn’t an issue in Baton Rouge. However, the Tigers will only go as far as the quarterback play allows it to.
The top five is led by No. 1 Alabama, followed by (2) Ohio State, (3) Florida State, (4) Washington and (5) USC.
SEC teams in the top 25 include (1) Alabama, (9) Auburn, (11) LSU, (15) Georgia, (16) Florida and (19) Tennessee.
LSU opens the season on Saturday, Sept. 2 against BYU in Houston, TX (NRG Stadium).
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